Calico Amber Ale

Ballast Point Brewing Calico Amber Ale labelI had a couple of 22-ounce bombers from Ballast Point Brewing Company that I drank last week, and I’m blogging my notes on the first this evening: Calico Amber Ale. It’s a decent beer, an American amber style that weighs in at 5% alcohol by volume… the American amber designation is interesting because Ballast Point’s website spends a paragraph describing the English bitter style for this beer. So it’s inspired by a bitter but hopped with American hops? Seems like the pedigree is a bit confused…

At any rate, it’s a drinkable beer, if a little hoppy for the style. My notes…

Appearance: Dark amber in color, brown-tinged. It’s relatively clear in the pint glass. Pours a nice fluffy cappuccino colored head.

Smell: Hops; strong American hops, though not citrusy like I’d expect. It’s a relatively neutral aroma, otherwise.

Taste: Hoppy and a little astringent is what I noticed first… malt is on the dry side rather than the sweet side. I think it’s a little too hoppy for the American amber category, but there’s a nice malt interaction otherwise.

Mouthfeel: Perfect for the style—thickly medium; hefty but not chewy. There’s still the matter of the astringency though.

On BeerAdvocate: 87 out of 100, and a respectable 100% approval. On RateBeer: 3.62 out of 5, in the 88th percentile. I notice that several of the BeerAdvocate reviews mention the high hoppiness also, so I know I’m not totally out of whack.

Don’t get me wrong, I like hops. I’ve been seeking out hoppy beers lately. But they need to be appropriate to the style. Overall, I think it’s a little overhopped, but still a worthwhile beer.